Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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Rochester

City Drum Corps Vows to Give Back

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In the late 1970's they were the pride of Rochester.

The all black ‘Mighty Liberators Drum and Bugle Corps’ brought positive national attention to the heart of the inner city.

Members of the former corps regrouped this weekend and came up with a plan to resurrect their life changing band.

It's been more than 30 years since members of Rochester's ‘Mighty Liberators’ performed together, but many remember it like it was yesterday.

"It was a thrill to feel the vibrations from the crowd and the appreciation from the crowd," said former member Randy Charlton.

Members say the corps literally took them from the streets to fields.

"We had never seen horns. We didn't know what drum corps was,” said Yvonne Clinkscales. “They brought the instruments to us and we blossomed."

In the seven short years the ‘Mighty Liberators’ existed, they placed in the top five at nationals.

Cuts in federal funding eventually forced the group to disband, but not before it changed the course of many people’s lives.

"Without drum corps I wouldn't be playing professionally,” said Curtis Kendrick, a drummer for the jazz group Cabo Frio. “It was just the discipline you know. To be there, to listen to people that are above you, kids need that these days."

Now alumni want to give back.

They plan to resurrect the corps that changed the way people viewed their part of the city.

Clinkscales is the North East Coordinator at the Clinton-Baden Community Center.

She has already gotten enough interest to put a color guard team together.

"I like coming to color guard. It’s something to do rather than being home bored or getting in trouble," said Ebony King, 14.

"It's fun for us to be the first people of this generation to start it again," said Nyckiyah Mulkey, 14.

Clinkscales wants to have drum line training for boys up and running at the Clinton-Baden Community Center in two weeks.

She's depending on donations from the community to make that happen.

"Why not bless our children? Why not? They deserve it. We did, so give back. Give us a chance to let our kids shine," said Clinkscales.

Teens already involved hope to carry on the legacy the ‘Mighty Liberators’ began.

"It's gonna be teenagers making a difference now, bringing it back. We want a reunion someday," King said.

if you're interested in learning more about the 'Mighty Liberators II’ or if you'd like to make a donation call the Clinton-Baden Community Center at (585) 325-4910 or contact business manager Ken Hyson at (585) 288-1512.
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